The New Zealand Evangelist
United Presbyterian Church.
The Synod of this Church met at Edinburgh on the 8th of May last. The Rev. J, Kirkwood, of Edinburgh, the Moderator for the past half-year, preached from John II., 17; “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” Dr. Struthers, of Glasgow, was chosen as Moderator. The Synod has hitherto been composed of all the Ministers of the church, with a ruling elder from each congregation, but from the increased number of Ministers, especially since the union of the Secession and Relief Synods, the meeting is found to be inconveniently large, and the Synod were occupied for some time in arranging for a Representative Assembly, on the principle of the General Assembly of the Established, and Free Church.— The subject of the “Deaconship,” the “Statistics of the Church,” and other matters were discussed. The report from “the Committee of Theological Education” was given in, and various regulations in regard to the examination of students, were adopted. It was agreed that, during the first session of their attendance at the Hall, the students shall attend the professors of sacred languages, and of biblical literature; during the second session, these professors and a professor of exegetical theology; during the third, fourth, and fifth sessions, the professors of exegetical theology, or systematic and pastoral theology, and of Ecclesiastical history.—The Theological Library now consists of 7000 volumes. The Rev. Dr. King read the report on Scholarships. Thirty-three students had entered the competition for the Hall. Of these, twenty-one received Scholarships, and the entire sum allocated was £375—Fifty-nine competitors entered for the University. Twenty-one of these received scholarships of £10, to be replaced next year by a greater sum, if again successful. The report of the Mission Board was read by the Rev. A. Sonmerville. The charges for the Home Mission for the past yeer, was £188. The Colonial and Foreign Missions were reported as prosperous. In Canada, thirty-three Missionaries are labouring. These are divided into four presbyteries. Five preachers have been sent out during the past year. To Nova Scotia two preachers have gone out. The Jamaica Mission has during the year been re-inforced by four additional ordained ministers. The Mission in that island now comprehends seventeen ordained ministers: five catechists having charge of congregations; eight European catechists and teachers employed under Missionaries; five female teachers; page 162 and rather more than twelve native teachers, several of whom have been educated in the academy in Montego Bay. The congregations there have upwards of 4000 members, and are attended by more than 8000, and connected with these congregations there are nearly forty day-schools, at which about 2000 children are receiving instruction. The Academy at Montego Bay is attended by forty-eight pupils, twelve of whom are Missionary students. The Mission in Trinidad continues to prosper. An interesting circumstance connected with it, is the asylum which it affords to hundreds of the persecuted followers of Dr. Kalley, that were obliged to flee from Madeira to escape the rage of Popery. The Missionaries welcomed them, gave them the use of the church in Port-of-Spain, and learned the Portuguese language in order that they might be able to console this afflicted but interesting people. The report also contains interesting details regarding the Missions in Old Calabar, Caffraria, Persia, and Australia. The total income of the “Home and Foreign Mission Funds,” including balance of last year, amounted to £15,288, being an increase of £156 on the year. In addition to this, nearly £600 has been collected in the Jamaica churches, for the Calabar Mission. Professor La Harpe, of Geneva, then addressed the Synod, and advocated the claims of the Evangelical Society of Geneva. It was agreed that correspondence be continued with their brethren in Geneva, and measures adopted for annual visit to the Synod of some of their continental friends, and vice versa. £500 was voted for the spread of the gospel on the continent, to be expended under the direction of the Evangelical Society of Geneva.
The Temperance Movement in the United Presbyterian Church—At a public breakfast in Edinburgh of the members and friends of the Total Abstinence Society connected with this Church, the chairman, the Rev. Wm. Johnston, of Limekilne, stated, that the Soeiety new comprehended 103 Ministers, 181 Elders, 6 Preachers, and 22 Students, and expressed the conviction that the time would come when all his brethren would be with them, and amazed at themselves in so long withholding their adherence.
Reformed Presbyterian And Original Secession Churches.
The Evangelical Alliance originated in Scotland; at least the initiatory steps to its formation were taken there. Its fundamental principle was co-operation on common ground now with a view to incorperation hereafter. It is pleasing to witness how rapidly incorporation is following co-operation in Scotland. Within the last two years, the two largest bodies of prebyterian dissenters, after the Free Church, the United Secession and the Relief churches, completed a union that had been pending for years, and page 163 formed what is now the United Presbyterian Church. There is now also a strong probability that the two remaining bodies of Presbyterian Dissenters, the Original Secession, and Reformed Presbyterian Synods will complete the union that has for many years been pending between them At the meeting of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod in Glasgow, in May last, a very encouraging report was given in on that subject. The Synod appeared highly gratified with the progress that had been made, and appointed a large committee to promote this object. Since that time the elders of both denominations in Glasgow have been holding meetings to cultivate each others acquaintance, and unite in prayer for a blessing upon the committees appointed by their respective Synods. Both parties aeem desirous that every obstacle be removed that stands in the way of union. “Where there is a will, there is a way.” It has often been a want of love more than a want of light—alienation of affection more than diversity of sentiment, that has produced and continued separation between churches. If Christians have a strong love to one another, they will soon see eye to eye sufficiently far to enable them to walk to gether in unity. The common ground held by both these churches is so broad, and the one point of difference between them so narrow, that by a little mutual forbearance, perhaps no churches in Christendom could more easily unite, and if united, though greatly less still in numerical strength than the other presbyterian churches, yet the high character of both for intelligence, orthodoxy, and piety, would secure for them a high moral influence in the community, and their power of doing good would be greatly increased.